Today is of the Cycle Of The Seventh Moon.
Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

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Paths To & From Duskhill

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Pioloss
(@pioloss)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 256
 

"Fine by me…" Pioloss replied. Yet the words nevertheless carried with them the undertones of "I'll be keeping my beady little eyes on yew." Which were aimed directly at Tom Cat.

He put his dagger away, but not before spinning the blade over his hand a few times in an impressive display of dexterity before it once again disappeared within the folds of his coat. With Pioloss unable to shake his wariness of Tom-Cat, the move was a clear warning: I may appear blind but that doesn’t mean I’m not still dangerous! But with the Cat Mans convenient appearance directly in their path - and in miraculous possession of Faan’s chest no less! - Who could blame him?! It was clear that something more was going on here beyond mere coincidence…

The overly flashy warning might also have had something to do with how Faans admonishment had left the Dhampir feeling more like a child who had just been chastised by a grownup than a loyal friend who had bravely leapt to the defence of his compatriots. 

But how was he supposed to know that Tom-Cat hadn’t been speaking literally, anyway?! Why couldn't people just say what they meant instead of using all this damnably confusing double talk all the time?! And having to barter for what was already her property? Ridiculous! Man… Cat… whichever it was, this Tom Cat was nothing more than a common crook so far as Pioloss was concerned!

Either way Pioloss resigned himself to staying still, silent, and trying not to look as though he was sulking as he waited to see the outcome at the Elfmaids admittedly adroit attempt at diplomacy. And by silent, he meant clicked like a troupe of overly excited tap dancers…


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Lassroyale
(@lassroyale)
Patron Saint of Hawtbois, Catboys, & BAMF Babes Noble
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 706
Journey starter  

TOM CAT

A Felonious Feline

╺ ✽ ╸

“Way down deep, we're all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.” 

– Jim Davis

 

Keh, it appears as if he’s destined to really learn what tonal whiplash feels like today, isn’t he? Kwesh! Maybe he truly has caught the attention of an Nth Dimensional imp and catboy superfan, who suffers from both an inane sense of “humor” and an inability to distinguish between ‘a tongue-in-cheek’ comment and a , ‘tongue-ripped-through-cheek’ sort of threat.  Wouldn’t that just be a nice lit match thrown onto the dried kindling pyre upon which rests the seething tension of this powder keg.

 

Well, their powder keg, because Tom-Cat’s just fine. 

 

 Sure, the tetzozo increased the staccato clicks in what he assumes is a weirdly petty attempt to needle his nerves, but he honestly couldn’t care less. It’s annoying as all jookan hell, sure, but it’s just that: annoying.  It’s easily remedied.  It’s not hurting him and it really only annoys him because of how incredibly dumb he thinks it is.  Kwesh! He really doesn’t get the tone-deaf Uman’s strange  little ‘i’m blind’ song and dance, especially since it’s obvious (to him) that the man can somehow ‘see’ despite their apparent lack of physical sight.  Keh, he can only imagine how stupidly tedious  it is to keep up the farce, and if he’s being honest, the man’s not great at this charade.  He’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt that the outlandish clicking has something to do with whatever alternative sight they employ,  because if it doesn’t, well, frankly, Tom-Cat will feel bad. Because it would obviously mean the tetzoszo isn’t playing with a full deck and their deranged clicking is some kind of uncontrollable tick. 

 

Otherwise, the guy’s just kind of a kar, plain and simple.  

 

And that’s not Tom-Cat’s problem.  


The catboy remained in his crouched position atop the trunk and only leaned forward slightly to shift his weight to the balls of his feet,  when the tetzozo got his back up over…nothing, as far as Tom-Cat’s concerned, and put on a display that’s, cool, he guesses.  He wonders if he’s supposed to flinch and show fear or something, and  considers seeing what the neg-led would do if he pretended to cower back or displayed a submissive pose.  Hm.  No; he doesn’t care enough to engage in histrionics.  He’s deciding between asking the tetzozo if:  A.) He’s  been drinking , or,  B.) He missed his naptime, when the Elfmaid asserts herself and overspeaks both of her companions. 

 

As he listens, the catling fluidly unfolds from his crouch and smoothly drops into a seated position at the edge of the trunk.   His palms rest lightly against the curved lid, as he reclines back in a languid repose. He looks maddeningly at ease.  Relaxation spans the sweep of his shoulders and melts to fill the  hollow of his clavicles, before overflowing to spill across the solid placard of his chest.  Relaxation carves pathways through the  clearly defined channels and tight switchbacks of his torso, and drains through mirrored side gullies to flow into the unpinned slant of his hips. His legs overhang the trunk’s edge, knees bent and bowed carelessly open, his feet planted solidly on ground, firmly pressed into the soft loamy earth. 

 

He listens raptly to the tired echo in Faan’s voice, exhaustion coats her throat and tints every breath with a whisper of fatigue.  Regret blurs the edges of her speech, sadness, bitterness, and the too-sharp memory of visceral horror coloring outside the lines of her words.  It’s the shadows gathered in the corners of her eyes that captures focus, holding him caged within her bicolored gaze.  He recognizes it, that particular type of  heaviness that lingers in the bare strip of shadow beneath  the eyes, pressed along the bottom curve; he knows it, felt it,  the indefinable weight of survivor's guilt, pushed aside, tamped down, to be thought about  later, later, later.  

 

Tom-Cat  understands trauma.  He’s fluent in its language, he can parse its syntax in his dreams; there are times when he doesn’t know which language was his first: Common or Trauma?  He sees how fresh hers is, so new that it still sat beading on the skin; it hasn’t sunk beneath the surface, hasn’t had time to settle at the bottom and seep into the marrow of her bones.  And the longer he watches that fresh trauma trace patterns over the smooth skin of Elfmaid’s face, he wants to help her.  He wants to – he doesn’t even know, commiserate with her? Kwesh, where is this even coming from? Is it because of his Telesk– 

 

—right then, the tetzozo huffs out another “threat”, although technically he’s responding to Faan’s earlier, reasonable appeal calling for diplomacy instead of violence.  The catling doesn’t look at Pioloss, though he practically hear the man settle into the type of sulk usually reserved for petulant children and preteens who’ve just discovered that their parents were The Most Embarrassing Creatures, EVER.  And then the tetzozo – Pioloss, he supposes – indulges their oral fixation and begins clicking like his tongue will fall out if there's a lapse in the noise.   He tunes most of it out, easily enough, the dumb noise fading to a muted thump somewhere at the back of his subconscious, like the occasional buzz of a rogue mosquito.  His ear stops twitching.  He misses the tetzozo’s fancy knife maneuvering (he wouldn’t have cared either way) because Tom-Cat hasn’t looked at the wrong-smelling, pale Uman since right after their first weapon-in-hand direct threat. 

 

Now pride usually says that he needs to meet the tetzozo’s escalation, that he needs to square up and respond in kind.  Well, almost.  He’d met a Skyld once who told him that, “If yew take a punch, yew don’t just return it in kind – yew pay it back with interest.   So if yew got rocked back on yer heels, then yew knock them down to the dirt hard enough that they won’t want to get back up.

 

He gets it, he even appreciates the sentiment.  It’s just not Tom-Cat’s style. 

 

Perhaps Tom-Cats disinclination to address the threats in any discernible way will be viewed as weakness, as a sign of submission, or as some kind of acknowledgement that the tetzozo is the, ‘better man’ or whatever.   If it is, that’s fine.  The assassin isn’t about to disabuse anyone of their assumptions. If Pioloss was looking to goad the catboy into a fight, he was going to be sorely disappointed, because Tom-Cat gave his response by his lack of one:  He didn’t react, respond, glance at, or acknowledge Pioloss’ threats or threatening demonstration, in any way.   Nothing.  He gave him nothing: no reaction, no attention, no change in expression, no shift of his weight or balance.  He didn’t move an ear or flick his tail.  Pioloss might not have even been there, for all the consideration Tom-Cat gave.  It was as if the pale Uman had become null-space in his mind.

 

Faan is not null in his mind.  Far from it.  Tom-Cat’s attention scarcely strayed from the lovely face and statuesque figure of the silver-haired Elfess,  He looks up and they lock eyes,  There’s a pause, they’re locked into a silent duel; striking, two-toned irises wrestle with predatory, yellow-gold.  The break off and glance away at the same time.  It’s a draw; no victor this time.  Tom-Cat feels the weight of her silent imploration, feels the unyielding edge of her iron-clad resolve to repossess her lakaset, locate the goblins, and travel safely through the Fungal Forest.   He can appreciate that.  Wuu’Faan Liewuun.”  He speaks her name like he’s tasting the syllables, drawing her name along the groove of his tongue and scraping it over the sharp points of his eyeteeth.  Tom-Cat gives her a slow smile, and perhaps this time there was something suggestive stamped into the full curve of his bottom lip.  “It’s a pleasurrre to meet you, Faan,” he says with sincerity.  It’s not a lie: so far, he is perfectly happy to have met Faan.  The catling suddenly grinned a decidedly foxy grin.  Which definition of ‘foxy’? Yes.  “And as adorrrably weirrrd as  ‘Misterrr Cat’ is, I’m afrrraid you’rrre mistaken,” he says in his luring, purr.  “It’s only one name: ‘Tom-Cat’.  Although,” pauses and peers at Faan from beneath a suddenly hooded gaze.  “If you want to give me a pet name,  I won’t prrrotest.”  He winks, with a cheeky twist of his lips.  

 

Tom-Cat sits up and leans forward, his hands relaxed and unassuming on his thighs.  He caught and held Faan’s eye.   “As forrr the inforrrmation you want…” he trails off and sweeps an arm into an all-encompassing gesture.  He tilts his head, thoughtfully.  “I've met One Grrrog and the rrrest of the little grrreenskin crrreeps,” he confirms.  He grins.  “They’rrre rrratherrr excitable.”  A curious intensity moves within the depths of his yellow eyes.  “And  as forrr yourrr otherrr rrrequests, surrrre I can guide you onto the corrrrrrect path.”  He smiles in invitation, crooking a finger in a ‘come hither’ gesture.  “Come herrre so we can discuss yourrr fee.”  There’s nothing provocative about what he says, not really, and yet one gets the sense that there’s some loaded words in the sentence.  Tom-Cat shifts his gaze meaningfully over to one of Faan’s compatriots, then back to her. His meaning is clear: You’re kidding yourself if you think I’m coming closer to you, especially with your clicky friend, there. 

 

Look, Faan,” he begins, as he looks at her with a frank, open expression.  “The soonerrr we get this overrr with, the soonerrr we can all be on ourrr merrrrrry way.”  He pauses, and simply says:  “Please."

 

The Elfmaid, after a moment’s hesitation, agreed to move closer to negotiate Tom-Cat’s fee  between just the two of them.  Before she approaches, she pauses and slips into Robespierre.  She brings the rusty rapier with her. 

 

Tom-Cat watches Faan draw closer, his kohl-rimmed, yellow-gold eyes never leaving her as she approaches.  He relaxes back a little into a casual, nonthreatening slouch, the end of his tail thumping against the side of the trunk in a slow-burn of excitement.   He sketches his gaze over the entire package that makes up the stunning Elfess, from long legs and narrow hips, to the sharp jut of collarbone and shoulders.  She has a marvelously elegant neck, delicate jaw, high cheekbones, and of course, the two-toned, green and hazel gaze, the feature enhanced by her platinum blonde hair.   She certainly knew how to walk, that's for sure.  The catboy grin toothily at her, amused by her unconscious ‘model’s walk’ she’s affected as she struts up to him.  The tall Elfmaid slows as she nears, and comes to a smooth halt just beyond his bent knees.  Tom-Cat doesn’t make any move towards her, but he does give her a genuine smile.  

 

“Hello,” he purrs, somehow packing many layers of amusement into just one word.  He twiddled his fingers at her in jest, his smile widening.  He runs a hand through his hair, and gives a quick flick of his ears to smooth out the soft, blue-grey fur.   The tip of his tail continues to twitch, tattooing a tat-tat-tat- beat against the side of the trunk.  Tom-Cat’s eyes grow intense and curious as he studies the details of the redingote that Faan donned.  “I’m currrious, Ms.Liewuun,” he gives her a quick and playful, slightly roguish grin.  He leans up and curls smoothly forward to look more closely at the redingote, his forearms resting lightly on his knees.  “Arrre you evicting the spirrrit of the coat, when you wearrr it like this?”  Tom-Cat casually reaches out and touches one of the buttons, feeling the shape and texture between his fingers.  

 

Or,” he continues.  He hooks a finger inside the opening on the coat and pinches the material between his forefinger and thumb.  Soft!” he exclaims in surprise.  He glances up at Faan, grinning, before lowering his eyes back to the redibgote.  “Kwesh! What was I asking?” He starts to straighten up, thinking.  As he does so, he tugs gently on the redingote by the fabric pinched between his fingers.  He continues to gently draw her in, not really pulling at all.  From the amount of force he’s actually exerting on the jacket, he wouldn’t be able to pull Faan anywhere if she did not cooperate.  “Ah yes.  Do you evict the spirrrit orrr is therrre a spirrrit somehow sewn into the rrredingote, itself?”  Tom-Cat gives one last tug and lets go of the coat, grinning at the Efless who now stands fully within the ‘v’ of his legs, his knees bracketing her body.   

 

It’s a close, some might say intimate, position.  Tom-Cat leans back on a palm and regards the pale-haired Elfess.  One of his knees bumps her in a faint, barely-there touch.  He doesn’t try to keep her there, even as his the other knee rests lightly on the opposite side; she can easily step back and put space between them.   A smile plays about his lips.  “Cozy,” he comments, a corner of his mouth tugging into a half-grin.  He chuckled.  “How about we get down to business.”  

 

Tom-Cat shifts forward and leans up to speak near Faan’s ear.  The Elfess doesn’t have to lean far, barely bending her waist to bring her cheek alongside his.  The catboy can’t help himself: he gives into his instinct to scent-mark her, as he rubs his furred ear and a bit of his cheek against the smooth skin along the sweep of her cheek and jaw.  “I’ve thought about my fee,” he purrs into her left ear.  “And it won’t empty yourrr purrrse, I prrromise.”  His voice has dropped into a low, throaty rumble that vibrates in his chest and through hers, give how close they are.  So close, that she can easily feel the unnatural warmth, the too-high heat, curling off of his bare skin.  He draws back as if in thought, then stretches up to speak into her right ear.  His feline hindbrain purrs in satisfaction as he  thoroughly scent-marks her, pleasing that primal, ancient instinct that wants to claim, mark, and possess.   He settles his lips near her pointed ear, his breath warm and soft.  

 

I think forrr  my fee,he says in that low, rumbling purr.  “The payment is fairrr.”  He chuckles, his breath tickling her ear.  His sinuous, grey-furred tail winds around her free wrist like a soft-furred snake.  “My fee, Wuu’Faan Liewuun, is a kiss.”  As Tom-Cat speaks, he stands, destroying what scant space there’d been between them and  reversing their positions as he’s the one leaning down, still pressed cheek-to-cheek, his lips still nestled close to her ear.  “That’s it,” he murmurs.  “I’m asking forrr a kiss as my fee.”  

 

Tom-Cat draws back slowly and then, as he curves the brand of his palm over her waist, he steals a kiss from Faan.

 

And over her shoulder he fixes his lambent, yellow eyes on Pioloss as he makes it clear that this is Tom-Cat’s reprisal for the threats and pettiness.  With a simple kiss, the catling starts and finishes it, a single stolen kiss his opening, middle, and closing salvo

 

… and he’s made not one  threat, drawn not one weapon, or raised not one  fist, against anyone else.


 

[OOC Events in post were discussed and agreed upon by all players for the characters involved.]

 

TOM-CAT: Kiana Beach Battle (3/3) - ☆Try Again - ★Powder Keg - Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - ★Sparring - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - Stolen Kiss - ☆Not Cheshire - Returning to Her - ★Baths & Comfort - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories -★Laughter & Kisses
───────────
DAETH: Breaking Callon - Pleasure w/Pain - Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate 2/2 - Precariously Balanced Nature - At Long Last, Eddellyn - Precipice - Entering the Hedge Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - Into the Aegis - Button Pressing - Thunder & Honey
───────────
RISQUÉ: Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte]Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor -Proposing the Race
──────────────────
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]


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Pioloss
(@pioloss)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 256
 

As he watched the almost ludicrously smug display unfold up ahead of him, a profound sense of duality began to settle over Pioloss as the two conflicting sides of his nature warred for dominance within him. 

The human side of him relaxed somewhat as the tension eased and it became apparent that though he was far from trusting the Catling even one inch, at least for a moment he posed no immediate threat. Pioloss even had to admire Tom-Cat, if only slightly, for managing to diffuse the situation whilst making it abundantly clear that the dislike between them two was indeed mutual. He stared impassively back, fixing his still (for the moment) sightless eyes directly on the feral yellow ones staring back at him as the Cat Man took his “payment from Faan. It was a masterful stroke, yes. And even a couple of days ago would have riled Pioloss up no end. But that was then, and this was now. After his own ludicrous display back at the Inn Pioloss harboured no illusions as to the nature of Faan’s and his relationship, and though he liked and respected her, that was now as far as it went. 

However the vampire side to him felt very differently. With its savage, predatory nature it would always view the world as belonging to one of two categories: Food, and threat. And Tom-Cat most definitely fell into the latter! It railed at his inaction, beating against the metaphysical bars of its confines as it gnashed its razor sharp, elongated teeth in rage and frustration. Could he not see the danger? The clear threat implied by Tom-Cats actions? Indeed, the Cat Man was obviously using Pioloss’s own tactic of trying to goad him into anger, and what’s more: It was working! 

So what if he had made no threats? Raised no weapons or fists? It was only a matter of time! And worse still, this… Cat dared to move in on one of his companions! The subtle scent marking had not been lost to his vampiric eyes, which took in every detail at a glance, missing nothing as his predatory nature filed everything away should it become useful later. Everything about Tom-Cat, every languid move, every nuance of expression, even the way that he studiously ignored Pioloss! All of it was noted, and all of it would be remembered. There would come a time when the two of them would come to blows, and Pioloss had no intention of being anything other than ready. For above all else, vampires were survivors, and no matter how the human side of Pioloss might feel, his vampire side would never. Never! Let its guard drop around the dangerous Cat Man. Not for so much as a single second. 

That being said however, none of Pioloss’s ragingly ambivalent emotions had taken into account how Faan herself might be feeling with regards to Tom-Cats supposed payment. Though the Elfmaid might be currently too stunned to react, his sensitive nostrils could already pick up the hot, acrid tang of rage as it washed out from her. 

Without moving a single muscle, Pioloss clicked again, making sure that Rigel still stood ready besides them. Having observed the way that the man could seemingly go from standing relaxed in one moment, to being in the midst of a raging battle in the next, Pioloss did his best to emulate this trait. He would wait to see how Faan wanted to deal with this smug cat first, but he would be ready - indeed eager! To spring into action should such be required.


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Irihi
(@irihi)
Villainess Noble
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 720
 

Faan

Robespierre was fast. Very fast. Even with Faan inside, the redingote’s rapier chimed as it made it halfway out of its sheath before the elfmaid overrode her guardian’s impulse to slice off the offending lips (or face or head) and jammed the sword back into its scabbard with her right hand. While her brain was thus occupied, the unexpected shock of the brush of another’s lips upon her own bypassed her brain, bounced off her spine, and telegraphed the autonomic response straight to her left arm. A shock jagged across the seamstress’s narrow shoulders as her hand tensed, her elbow bent and she delivered a ringing slap to Tom-Cat’s cheek. Or she would have, had a soft bit of furry resistance not given her mind time to catch up to her body. Faan’s arm jerked up but was arrested halfway; first by Tom-Cat’s tail about her wrist, and then by her own will, as the catboy uncoiled his appendage with a roguish grin.

Instead of a slap, Faan dragged a knuckle of her hand across lips curled in outraged disgust. “De’lortha le, kuu datto!” She didn’t often swear in elvish--common tended to get to the point a lot more succinctly--but this was one of those times that required the worst her mother tongue could deliver. The elfmaid stepped back, teeth clenched, fury radiating from every pore. This was the second, and moreso, unwelcome advance upon her in as many days, and the one she’d failed to dodge. 

In the seething anger written across Faan’s face, Tom-Cat might be able to glean a hint of her decision-making process. She considered, for a moment, going forward with her aborted slap, but no--that moment was passed. It was not very ladylike to expectorate in the lazily-grinning face of another person, but neither was it gentlemanly what those smiling lips had just done.

Also, that’s a pretty clear signal of breaking a deal.

And Faan had already paid her share. 

So she spat on the ground in the space she’d opened between them, or appeared to, because fury had left her rather dry of mouth. “Call my goblin porters to us, then, if it’s as yew say.” She gritted before turning on her heel and stalking back to her companions. 

Faan’s anger now pointed, rather unfairly, at her escort. Not Pioloss, of course, the man was blinded and had no idea of the affront that had just transpired. Rigel, though, made a large and convenient target. 

Not that there was anything the large monk could have done differently. Had he attacked the cat-person, Faan would have loosed Robespierre and interdicted his sword with her own. She, herself, had declared “no more bloodshed” and paid what--really--was a trifling price for it. By rights, Faan should have been happy to save her coin. 

She was not happy.

Faan made this quite clear as she shouldered unnecessarily past Rigel, putting a footballer’s tackle worth of effort into shoving him aside (coming from the slip of an elfmaid it would likely barely even budge the massive monk) with a growled. “Ask this impertinent kitten-child about the bird-girl.” Because Faan wasn’t going to speak to the jukketting ud’raan anymore than she absolutely had to.

Faan stopped a few feet beyond Rigel, because where was she going, anyway? Just as far as she could (without unduly risking becoming Xiple-food by storming off too far) from Tom-Cat, who--as far as Faan was concerned--would be flat-toned t.o.m.c.a.t. to her until the day she died. 

And elves are exceedingly long-lived. 

When they don’t go and get themselves eaten because they’re in a huff.

Leaving her escorts to negotiate the particulars, Faan started to unpack her anger. Being sole proprietress of a shop in Uman lands did not give one the luxury of staying wound up for hours at every affront, and the same went for traveling through dangerous lands. The seamstress knew she was more angry with herself than the something-something cat-eared thief. She was the one who had decided to walk into harm’s way just because she let fatigue and trauma override good sense. That stolen kiss could just have easily been a dagger in the heart.

Even if Faan was willing to acknowledge this, herself, Rigel and Pioloss would probably be well advised to wait a bit before reminding the elfmaid of as much.


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Rigel
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Rigel had not been able to see everything transpiring between the "Tom Cat" creature and lady Faan but when the creature placed himself...around...her Rigel planted one heel and moved tot he ball of his other foot, weight shifted back.  He prepared himself to attack the beast as he saw Lady Faans hand flying at him and being caught by the felines tail.  Rigel could almost Faan's almost palpable rage. Yet she did not seem hurt.  Rigel didn't want to escalate the situation but was ready to do so.

Almost suddenly Faan was walking toward him with a purposeful stride as if she saw nothing in front of her.  She strode right into, no, through Rigel shouldering him aside as if he was a saloon door.  Faan's shoulder impacted Rigel as she brushed past and he decided to play this a bit by stepping back as if forced to.

Rigel returned to his previous position and locked eyes with the Tom Cat creature. 

You overstep your bounds.  Rigel said in a firm steady voice free of any inflection but clear in intent.  

 


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Pioloss
(@pioloss)
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Wow! She let me off easy! Was Pioloss’s first thought as he heard more than saw Faan barrel into Rigel like a runaway horse and cart. It wasn’t hard to discern that Rigel had stepped back from his own volition rather than from the impact of the comparatively slight Elf, but Pioloss fancied that could the man sense Faan’s unbridled rage as he could he may well have backed off a few paces further! 

His vision was slowly starting to return to him, enough that he was just starting to be able to make out the vague, hazy impressions of shapes, but he still had to send a stream of clicks behind him to see as Faan stormed off. For a moment it looked like she was ready to march back into the tunnel to rejoin the Xiple and Sunstealers rather than suffer the company of this presumptuous cat any more, and Pioloss swallowed as he began to wonder if he was going to have to go after her. (He may have been stronger than any Uman now, but he really didn’t relish the idea of having to physically restrain her if that was the case!) But thankfully she seemed to come to the realisation that this would not be a good idea on her own and settled for coming to an abrupt stop a few feet behind Rigel and himself. 

“You overstep your bounds.”  He heard Rigel say, the words containing a warning clearer than any fancy knife tricks that Pioloss might have been able to employ. 

For a moment he had to resist the urge to add a derisive “Yeah!” of his own on. Or maybe a slow clap would be more effective? 

But no.

If there was one thing he had learned since joining this apparently doomed quest it was that he was not good with people, and should learn when to keep his mouth shut! Especially as with the mention of the elusive “bird girl” it was starting to look like this Tom-Cat might turn out to be rather integral to them actually completing their task and then hopefully getting the hells out of here and back up to the surface!


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Lassroyale
(@lassroyale)
Patron Saint of Hawtbois, Catboys, & BAMF Babes Noble
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 706
Journey starter  

TOM CAT

A Felonious Feline

╺ ✽ ╸

“Cats are the lap-dancers of the animal world. Soon as you stop shelling out, they move on, find another lap. They're furry little sociopaths. Pretty and slick – in love with themselves. When's the last time you saw a seeing-eye cat?”

Andrew Vachss  

 

 

Tom-Cat isn’t so much of a kopil that he can’t admit that, ‘Yeah, okay –  that was a kar move, on his part.’  He also concedes that it was probably was pretty unfair to use Faan as a cat’s paw in his riposte, especially given that both the kiss and Pioloss’ animus towards him is ultimately meaningless, or at least insignificant, to his mind.  It wasn’t a serious reprisal.  You will know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, if or when Tom-Cat delivers a serious reprisal.  It’s his area of expertise, so to speak; it’s what he’s been taught:  to devise and execute the type of planned revenge that forever leaves metaphysical scars upon the space in which it’s carried out.  

 

He admits that he could have met the tetzozo’s escalation with a little more of an even-hand, but when he saw how quickly (and easily) their hackles were raised in, what he assumes, defense of Faan’s “honor”, he’d been unable to resist nipping at that exposed nerve.  It was impulsive, all told, and admittedly snide, done with the express purpose to discomfit and avoid the situation from spiraling into  petitio principii.  That he stole a march on Pioloss and kissed her before him…well, that’s just an unexpected bonus.  Besides, he’s almost positive he can turn it around with Faan given the time, inclination, or opportunity.  Come to think of it, it might be a good idea to smooth things over with the Elfmaid, no matter what.  

 

He owes her an apology, regardless. 

 

Maybe two.  Or three, because she’s furious.

 

Not for nothing, but Faan is beautiful – Tom-Cat would have to be (ha) blind not to notice – even spitting mad.  If he’s being honest, he actually finds her anger kind of hot. He gets the sense that the Elfess holds some part of herself tightly wound in the trappings of decorum and etiquette, and keeps herself a step apart out of necessity. He doesn’t think she comes across as pure or shy or even demure, either; just necessarily reserved.  Tom-Cat’s able to glimpse up close, that veneer of diplomacy and social grace briefly crack under the weight of her fury; he sees that burn in her eyes, a fire and temper that he imagines would be incredibly stirring under different circumstances or in a different context. Then he watches her consciously wrest it all back under lock and key, as she denies herself the slap that he (definitely) deserves, even as she spits curses at him in her native tongue.  Seeing the way in which her impassioned rage heats up her face, features raw with fury, sends a thrill of something close to excitement firing through his blood in response…

 

…okay, so maybe he’s not exactly thinking with the right…hindbrain.

 

Tom-Cat keeps his lazy grin affixed to his lips as Faan storms away, but not before she grit out a command to call her little green creeps – her goblin porters –  through clenched teeth.  He just barely stops from snapping off a cheeky, but ill-advised rejoinder of: ‘Yes Mistrrress, please give me anotherrr orderrr because I like it when you’rrre bossy,’ which is probably for the best. He doubts it would have gone over well.  At all.  

 

The tip of his tail swishes lazily as he watches her go, crescent slits of yellow-gold that almost glows from beneath a heavy-lidded gaze.  He gives a languid stretch before he turns with a swish-flick of his tail, hopping up to and then down from the top of the trunk as he moves a little away from Faan and her two, very much on edge, companions.  He doesn’t take time to thumb his nose at the tetzozo – his point’s been made and Tom-Cat doesn’t hold grudges unless you’ve truly earned it.  A couple of spoken and implied threats from the odd, wrong-smelling Uman playing a game of one-man charades in order to dupe his companions, isn’t enough to warrant much thought past the headspace he’s already given him, let alone hold a grudge.  The catling  was only able to get a quick glimpse of the man’s warring impulses in his eyes while he’d kissed Faan, and was surprised by their restraint.  He thinks it a little suspect; the man’s clearly either lying to himself or denying himself, regarding his feelings towards the Elfmaid, if the way he initially jumped to her defense and then reacted to her “admonishment”, is anything to go by.

 

Really though, it’s not his problem.

 

And back to Faan…Tom-Cat still stupidly wants to ease her trauma as he’d wanted to earlier, before he got sidetracked by the tetzozo’s second outburst.  He’s glimpsed her trauma and can’t unsee it; the freshness of it makes something twist in him, which is just goddamn ridiculous because he doesn’t know her.  By all rights, he shouldn’t care, and maybe he doesn’t – not really.  Yet when he sees that lingering heaviness within the haunted depths of her shadowed gaze, something in him understands; something in him clenches and reaches out.

 

Kwesh! Miiya’s ridiculous, ‘There’s good in everyone!’ wide-eyed, fairytale princess naivete, must be rubbing off on him or something, because there’s no other reason that he commiserates with the Elfess.  He grimaces, the expression hidden from the trio at his back, as he steps to the edge of the clearing and prepares to call for One Grog and co.  Maybe it’s not all bad if Miiya’s influence is rubbing off on him a bit…  As he thinks about her stupid-cute naivete, Tom-Cat can’t help but smile a bit, and without thinking he automatically opens himself back to the bond.  

 

It’s impossible to describe the type of relief that bled through him as he allowed the shape of the bond to once more expand and settle, the press of it against that inscrutable space within him more than just a balm on the burned edges of his mind.  It’s the sensation of something out of phase coming back into alignment.  It’s the indescribable relief of a shoulder being popped back into its socket. It’s the sudden unclenching of tightly fisted muscles that keeps your hips misaligned. It’s a simple, body-deep, innate feeling of something vital and yet indefinable, being set to right.  Tom-Cat sighs softly.  There’s a lot packed into that one breath.  It’s relief, sure, but it’s also nerves, a wish for comfort; his own, hers.  He gets a sketchy impression of longing, worry, and wavering happiness through the bond.  And without putting much thought behind it, Tom-Cat reaches out through the bond He isn't really paying attention to what he’s doing, as...he seeks unconsciously to comfort his bondmate, to smooth away that uneven edge of her worry.  He’s not sure how; he reaches out as if he might take her hand in his, distance be damned.  He thinks about how neatly her hands fit within his own, the redness of her palms, the rim of her nail scraping over his calluses. 

 

Maybe that's enough.

 

And then like he wills it, like it’s serendipity, the catboy’s keen hearing picks up Faan growl out the words, Ask this impertinent kitten-child about the bird-girl.’  Tom-Cat doesn’t even hear the sleight, his focus immediately honing in on three words that makes his heart stutter for a second: the bird-girl’If anything can get his back up in an instant, it’s the thought that these strangers are seeking his bondmate.  Because it’s too much of a coincidence for people to be searching through the jookan UnderNeath, apparently in search of a female AerosIt makes no sense by any stretch of the imagination.  He doesn’t let it show in his body language, but Tom-Cat is instantly wary.

 

First things first, he’ll call the goblins.  He did promise.  The catboy places two fingers in his mouth and looses a series of shrill whistles, long–short–-short.  He pauses, then repeats the three-beat whistle once more before.  He has no doubt that the goblins will come running as quickly as they’re able. He stays at the edge of the clearing for a moment longer, one ear turned back towards the trio behind him.   He pretends to look down the path towards Duskhill’s direction, ostensibly to search for the goblins, but he’s really getting his emotions under control.  By the time he’s ready to turn back, he’s settled back into his relaxed, casual body language and once more wears that easy, slightly impudent and amused expression.

 

Tom-Cat turns back to the trio just as Rigel steps forward and issues a calm statement that’s full of righteous censure, like he's a jookan knight in shining armor and the catling does not have time for this.   He moves forward until he’s once more standing by Faan’s trunk, this time on the other side of it, so the luggage in between him and the Elfmaid’s two pitbulls.

 

You overstep your bounds.’   

 

Keh, what the hell? What is up with these two?  Tom-Cat nearly rolls his eyes – he gets halfway there, actually, before he can stop himself.  He snorts.  Kwesh! These paladin-types are always such a pain in the upuch, and he will stab someone if the Saleks’let tries to proselytize to him.  Either way, the catboy ignores the…threat.  He gives Rigel a bland look, though a corner of his mouth twitches into a mildly sardonic half-grin.  

 

“Arrre you herrr Shining Knight?” he asks in a flat tone.  “I’m quite surrre that she is a grrrown woman who can handle defending herrr own honorrr.”  Tom-Cat arches a brow.  “At leat frrrom what I’ve…seen.” He casually scratches his chin and gently touches his lips, in an accidentally-on-purpose, gesture.  “I’d trrrust herrr to stand up forrr herrrself, unless she asked.”  He shrugs.  “But that’s just me.”  Tom-Cat folds his arms loosely across his chest and shifts into a one hip jut, casual pose. (Also known as his “model’s pose” but that’s neither here nor there.  Plus, he's completely unaware of it.)  He peers at Rigel through the thick fringe of his lashes from beneath lowered lids.  His eyes are half-moons of lambent yellow.

 

What’s morrre currrious,” he begins, casually enough.  “Is why someone would be looking forrr an Aerrros in the UnderrrNeath,” his tone is suddenly sharp, pointed.  “Why would you be looking forrr one of the Sky Folk,” he puts emphasis on the words. “Down herrre, wherrre therrre is no sky?”  His intense gaze is unwavering as he waits to see how the group will answer.

 

His willingness to help or to leave them all to die in the Fungal Forest, hinges on what they say.  

TOM-CAT: Kiana Beach Battle (3/3) - ☆Try Again - ★Powder Keg - Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - ★Sparring - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - Stolen Kiss - ☆Not Cheshire - Returning to Her - ★Baths & Comfort - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories -★Laughter & Kisses
───────────
DAETH: Breaking Callon - Pleasure w/Pain - Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate 2/2 - Precariously Balanced Nature - At Long Last, Eddellyn - Precipice - Entering the Hedge Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - Into the Aegis - Button Pressing - Thunder & Honey
───────────
RISQUÉ: Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte]Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor -Proposing the Race
──────────────────
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]


Pioloss and Irihi liked
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NoOne
(@noone)
Citizen Citizen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 527
 

Picnic 

From: Duskhill

At the sound of raised voices, something massive slipped out of the forest to stand behind Tom-Cat.

The creature was a crab-like twelve-foot-tall monstrosity of blue crystalline skin, great bladed wings, enormous three-fingered pincers, and a mix of equine, uman, and nightmare features. It turned a blank ovular head atop a umanoid torso toward the catboy. “Tom-Cat,” Thundered a reverberating voice that emanated from some unknown place on the monster. “I am here to retrieve yew.” It said, as its six spiked legs pierce and score the rocky ground. “Yew are not to leave Duskhill without an escort.” It chided, emptying the words it had prepared from its diffuse crystalline mind’s buffer. 

Picnic the drowish TonDen paused, towering over Tom-Cat and Faan’s chest, regarding the newcomers while faint luminescence pulsed beneath its crystal armor. It was quite a long wait before it spoke again. “Are these enemies? Shall I kill them?” It echoed the words of The Watcher of Kiana as it queried the catboy.


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Irihi
(@irihi)
Villainess Noble
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 720
 

Faan

The elfmaid was still angry. Maybe I should have just had Rigel and Pioloss kill him and take my goods back by force. 

No, that was madness. As much as the catboy had tweaked her anger, she now could recall that his eyes had been on Pioloss as he’d affronted her. This had been some sort of power play between the kid and the rangy uman. Faan didn’t appreciate being used as a pawn in a boys’ churlish pissing contest, but her anger didn’t rise to the level of violence--at least not deadly violence.

Of course, the joke was on Tom-Cat/?me? as that man is blind as a bat, which was good, because Faan could scowl at him all she liked until she felt better. She knew she owed Pioloss her life from events that had happened not more than a few hours earlier. Still, it was a hard thing to remember when it was his posturing that had left her no choice but to engage with the impertinent cat-person. Obviously the kid was not going to negotiate with a person whose first response was literally blind anger. She wished Pioloss…  

Suddenly the elfmaid found that her pique had evaporated as a truly monstrous beast emerged from the fungal forest and demanded that the cat-boy come with it before asking if it should kill Faan and company. That explained why Tom-Cat had dodged the question of his companions, Faan thought. The seamstress re-evaluated the transaction in this new light, and found she was not quite as upset as she had thought she was. Faan quickly returned to stand between Pioloss and Rigel, facing the enormous golem. 

The construct was familiar in nature, if not in form. She had seen similar golems in the streets of Botherel when she had been working on consignments there. They were the automatons of powerful priestesses of Loth, the drowish spider-goddess. Such TonDens came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they shared features common with this one, such as the blank faceless head, slow speech, and just a whole mess of menace in every word and movement.

There is a drowish golem behind the man!” Faan said quietly to Pioloss and Rigel. “It is very large and dangerous! Both of them must be in the household of a high priestess of the church of the goddess, Loth!” Faan accidentally misinformed her blinded and sighted companions at the same time. As far as Faan, and the worlde in general, knew, such golems never separated from the will and command of their creators. “We must be very careful with our words! Their mistress will be a powerful sorceress, and we must not anger her!” 

I mean, we probably shouldn’t anger that twelve-foot nightmare of blades and mega-claws either. Faan thought, wryly, suddenly glad that she had not over-properly-reacted to the kept boy’s affront. 

Yes, she had some thought that Tom-Cat’s ease might have been rooted in hidden strength, but imagining it and seeing elephantine confirmation were two different things entirely. All things considered, she was glad she had made… a deal… with the catling. 

Faan wracked her brain, trying to get past that churlish kiss and see if there had been any hidden meaning in the catboy’s speech. He had used a lot of non-common words, that had sounded suspiciously Havenesque. Perhaps he had been captured or purchased from the surface by his present mistress? Had he hidden a plea for help somewhere in there? Well, good luck, kid. Faan was not here to court certain death by trying to liberate a priestess's kept boy from under the spikes of a giant golem. She might suddenly feel quite a bit more charitable toward the young thrall, but not that charitable.

Faan’s agile mind quickly shifted gears away from Tom-Cat. There was a metric ton of Drowish Lore that she had learned to be able to safely do business in the domains of the Yochol Sisterhood. She needed to distill it down to a few words so her companions would not say or do something that got them all turned to dust by the disfavor of the Spider Goddess. “The boy is probably kept by the priestess. His will is not is own.” Faan began. More quietly she informed them: “He is some sort of cat-boy. He is pretty young. He is probably a kept boy.” This was for Pioloss’s benefit, which was also why Faan put the words in that particular order, because this priestess had pretty agreeable taste, even though Faan found any form of thralldom abhorrent. “The golem will be his Guardian’s proxy. His Guardian will be the Drow Priestess; she controls these two; they don’t really have any autonomy.” So, ya know, don’t be too hard on the shed-sized monster with giant blades for wings, or Fuzz Lightears.

Faan tried to remember the hierarchy of single males like Pioloss and Rigel in Drow society. Unlike in the Daelowsian or Terajin patriarchy, they were pretty far down the ladder in Botherel. Faan suddenly hoped that her companions hailed from, at least, a more egalitarian land, so they would not be too affronted. “This will go smoother if you let me speak for you. Try not to get upset.” Because that will get us killed… like apparently everything else in these accursed sunless depths!

Faan had already considered and discounted trying to pretend that Pioloss and Rigel were anything but companions. Drow weren’t stupid. They knew the ways of surfacers were different from their own. Some of them were pretty tolerant of their heathenly ways. Since she wasn’t lying about anything else, might as well make honesty the policy, she figured. Maybe the Red Orc Shaman hadn’t just portaled them to certain doom, but just to a rather unfortunately hot LZ that was actually near their objective. “We seek an injured Aeros girl. We were sent by her aunt to render her what aid we can, and help her return to the surface worlde.” Faan said, carefully. 

I guess I’m talking to this guy again. It’s fine. Being a drow’s charge, he probably has no idea how to not act like freaky gimp around women. Faan thought to herself, trying to keep her expression from showing any of what she was feeling. 

She thought she, even as a non-drow, being a woman, was supposed to have higher station over the kept boy, but he was the one apparently giving orders to the twelve-foot murder machine. So best tread softly. “Do you know of such a girl? Can you take us to her?”


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NoOne
(@noone)
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Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 527
 

Grog and Goblins

At Tom-Cat's signal, the herd of little porter greenskins came tumbling down the path. Down they went to see, roly poly, pell mell tumble bumble, until they came to the blue golem; and there they stopped short. “Holy chep’kak!!” Exclaimed Grog, with a rather toe-curling goblin curse. “That BIG mertukker!” His herd all held back a moment. “Where it witch?” He wanted to know.

Despite their cowardly nature, the Goblins seemed less perturbed by Picnic than their boss was. In fact, after the first exclamation, they seemed more excited to find that three fifths of the Umans (and elf) had not been eaten by Xiples or Sunstealers. One goblin seemed particularly ecstatic, while the other nine made faces and moped about like the losers of a bet they had thought a pretty sure-thing. 

“Hey, elf lady, yew not dead yet! Gud fer yew!” Grog grinned a snaggle-toothed grin at Faan. “Maybe yew too small for Sunstealers to eet?”


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Pioloss
(@pioloss)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 256
 

It had now been decided. Pioloss just plain did not like cats. It was officially… official. To be fair, after recent events he was no longer much of a fan of mushroom’s either, but he really didn’t like cats! Not that he ever really had before, thinking them to be arrogant little balls of mange that by their very nature expected the entire world to be at their beck and call. And this one especially was really starting to get his goat. I mean, could he love himself any more if he tried?! Pioloss had met cocky people before. Arrogant, self assured men and women who literally thought the sun shined out of their behinds. But compared to Tom-Cat they would all seem like a bunch of nervous wrecks! Plagued by doubt and constantly crying at their own engorged sense of inadequacy. 

Nope! Give him a dog any day of the week. Dogs were loyal, faithful, brave. A dog could be trained into a useful companion, knew how to take orders, and viewed others more as friends instead of servants.

Then Tom-Cat had asked them about the Aeros.

He’d tried to hide it, but the worry, the concern, the care was clear all the same. He began casually enough, speaking with the same maddeningly indifferent tones that had so far managed to almost completely override Pioloss’s better judgment. But the moment the Aeros was mentioned the intensity in both words and body language from Tom-Cat were such that he may as well have screamed his love from the roof tops. At least to Pioloss’s sensitive ears anyway… 

Hmm… Interesting. Could it be that Pioloss’s lifelong, and recently (understandably) reinforced dislike of all things feline had been unfairly colouring his judgements of Tom-Cat? 

Tom Cat, I am here to retrieve yew. 

“Ye God’s Pussum! That’s a heck of a scratching post yew’ve got there!” The words almost, almost made it out of his mouth. But in a rare flash of restraint and common sense, Pioloss bit them off before they did.  

Which was just as well, because a few clicks later Pioloss saw what his still healing vision had not fully managed to reveal: A gargantuan, and near perfect killing machine. A crystalline monstrosity of blades and pincers that had apparently stepped directly out of someone or others darkest nightmare.

The goliath was in fact, so imposing, that Pioloss didn’t even think to snicker upon hearing that Tom-Cat was most likely what amounted to little more than a pet to some drow sorceress somewhere, and he was only too happy to let Faan handle the particulars of diplomacy. If he had been able to, he might even have physically locked his mouth shut. But he couldn’t, so good ol’ willpower it would just have to be. And it just about then that the Goblin porters decided to put in an appearance.


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Rigel
(@rigel)
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Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 216
 

Arrre you herrr Shining Knight?

Rigel responded. I am no knight" he then stood expressionlessly listening to the cat ramble on as if his thoughts were anything more than verbal diarrhea.  His self absorption was a bit annoying but almost equally amusing.  Rigel would not dignify the creatures remarks with a response.

his attention was caught again as an enormous blue creature stepped into the clearing.  It appeared to be there for the cat. A chuckle nearly escaped Rigel's lips but he was not one to smile at others less fortunate circumstances.  Rigel listened closely as the Lady Faan explained their apparent situation and the presence of the construct.

Rigel was ready to grad a handful or two of little green throat when Grog and his crew showed up, but for now that was of little consequence. 

This post was modified 5 months ago by Rigel

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Lassroyale
(@lassroyale)
Patron Saint of Hawtbois, Catboys, & BAMF Babes Noble
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 706
Journey starter  

TOM CAT

A Felonious Feline

╺ ✽ ╸

“Cats are the lap-dancers of the animal world. Soon as you stop shelling out, they move on, find another lap. They're furry little sociopaths. Pretty and slick -- in love with themselves. When's the last time you saw a seeing-eye cat?”

Andrew Vachss


 

Tom-Cat’s had a lot of life compressed into half that amount of years.  It’s not the nice, painless process of synapses and neural paths formed in a neat circuit board of experiences and memories.  It’s not the unspooling of life events along the pathways of the mind, laying down nodes of experience as steadily as the unfurling of the seasons.  After all, one has to be broken in order to be remade.

The first time they tried he was torn from the trauma, split in two, the unique agony of a too-small frame and too-large pain.  It’s the type of pain that’s impossible to forget, some part of it still sharp and jagged; some part that’s still there.   (Pain so different, so intense, it shredded his soul as his body was torn.)  So they’d hollowed him out, removed everything soft but left his vitals.  Then they stretched his skin over the rack of his bones, pulled it tight, tight, tight

 If (when) he broke again, when he was ripped apart and ruptured, the process started all over.  

And so goes part of the remade process.  There’s a lot of glue involved; a lot of stitches and burst seams; a lot of staples between crenulated skin; a lot of razor edges and skin that’s ribboned, wet, red; a lot of cigarette burns and knuckle-bruised jaws; a lot of slurred curses and fist-shaped contusions; a lot of sickly sweet words scraped over whiskey-burned lips; a lot of bruise-inked fingerprints stamped across hips, shoulders, throat.  Just…a lot, a lot, a lot.

 

╺ ✽ ╸

 

None of it matters in the here and now.  It’s in his past.  It is his past. It is him.  And the saleks’let and the tetzozo don’t know him.  They can’t know him.  They won’t know him.  By that measure, Tom-Cat doesn’t know them. But he does know ugliness, that blight sunk deep inside of every person; those bits of cruelty and vindictiveness, that occasionally rises to the surface of the pores.  He knows how insidious, how easy it is to lie to oneself.  He knows how dangerous a person who thinks they are good, thinks they are doing good, believes they are a hero, truly is.  All he’s seen from moral certitude in one’s righteousness, was varying amounts of tunnel vision.  Narrow-minded, intolerant, insular, prejudiced.  

Tom-Cat isn’t stupid.  Even if it wasn’t for his primal core, for his animal sixth sense and general senses, he’s watching the two Umans who’ve clearly telegraphed their distrust and disinclination to see him as anything but Other.  To them he is Other, barely sentient, an animal.  He’ll have to check, but was discrimination a hero trait, these days? Was that a trait of righteous, good men?

It’s the quick expression, the barely-aborted automatic twitch of the lips, blink-or-you-miss-it tick of a facial muscle, and the absolute spiteful amusement that flashes through the eyes at learning that he’s a supposed “Kept Boy”, that confirms something of their characters that’s almost disappointing to see.  He’s not sure why that is, what he was expecting, exactly – perhaps it’s that the assassin had still been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  He’d made no overtures of threat or violence towards either of them upon first meeting.  And sure, he’d earned some of their apprehension or wariness after he’d kissed the Elfess, but that is to be expected.  But their immediate reactions, “heroically suppressed” as they were, to take pleasure in learning that someone is essentially a slave that’s truly disappointing.  Even for a stranger, even one who is disliked on principle, that is a black stain on the character that he can’t unsee. 

He doesn’t want to help them

But he will do anything to help Miiya.

Before he answers Faan, Tom-Cat makes one comment with just a hint of disappointment in an otherwise bland tone.  The glint in his yellow-gold eyes is inscrutable, it could be anything from pity to disgust to biting disappointment, as he glances at the two Umans, then away.

What an ugly soul,” he says quietly, his voice nonetheless clear, true, and distinct.

Then Tom-Cat puts it behind him.  He might be annoyed, but he doesn’t hold grudges for people he barely knows and ultimately mean nothing to him.  Besides, that bit of soul ugliness on their parts, just helped the catboy decide whether or not he would disabuse Faan of her notion that he’s a Kept Boy.  In short?  No, he will not correct her. 

Sure, he does usually walk around the estate  in his underwear.  So he’s basically already a Kept Boy – sort of.  He’s not going to put too much of a fine point on it. 

Faan asks him what he meant by his comment. 

 Tom-Cat foregos an immediate reply, and instead turns to the TonDen Picnic looming menacingly by his right shoulder.  He places a hand companionably on the golem’s  crystalline carapace.  “Thanks Picnic,” he rumbles, speaking directly to the massive Drow construct.  “Was she verrry worrrrrrried?” His voice is long-suffering but grateful, and he affects a suitable expression between mild exasperated and resigned chastisement, to match.  He gives absolutely no hint or indication in either voice, body, or expression, of his actual delight that his Teleskela was thinking about him and wanted him to return hometo her – to the estate.  “As forrr yourrr last question…” The catling skims his yellow-eyed gaze over the two Umans and one Elfess  (‘Kwesh, sounds like the prrremise forrr a comedy of Farrrce, orrr a Trrragicomedy.  Keh, just a Trrravesty.’) though the expression in his eyes is unreadable.  He turns back to the massive golem, lashing his tail once.  “As fun as it might be to watch that fight, rrright now they arrrnot  enemies.” Yet. With a knock of his knuckles against Picnic’s carapace, the felinoid assassin turns back around to face the group. 

Tom-Cat doesn’t look at either Pioloss or Rigel as he focuses on Faan then drops his eyes in deference.  He sketches out a short, simple gesture with his wrist and steps forward into a shallow bow.  His movements are precise and graceful, the flex and roll of his body as smooth as the ebb and flow of the tide.  He steps back and adopts a proper pose, his back straight, legs together, with his left arm across his chest and his left hand curled lightly over his right shoulder.  He wraps his blue-grey furred tail around his legs to his front, the end bending into a sleek, elegant curve by his feet.  It’s a stance meant to present the catboy in a manner that’s tasteful yet aesthetically appealing, the position of his arm across his chest creating interesting lines and angles.  It’s a posture that also displays a suggestion of openness and vulnerability.  

When Tom-Cat finally raises his eyes back up to Faan’s, the change in his demeanor is notable: gone is the impudence pressed into the full curve of his lips, and his features aren’t razor-sharp with hauteur.  And free of his earlier pretension, the catboy’s exotic beauty is stunning.  One gets the sense that the catling was literally ‘bred to be beautiful’.  Now Tom-Cat addresses Faan.

Beforrre anything else, Ulin Dalninil,”  Tom-Cat speaks the Drow words with an accent, but the Drowish is still clear and understandable.  “Please forrrgive my earrrlierrr indignity against yourrr,” he pauses and gives Faan a look that’s full of appreciation.  “Yourrr verrry lovely perrrson, miss Wuu’Faan Liewuun.”  His ears lower close to his head.  “I am usually not out without an escorrrt, and I don’t know how to act with all this…” he trails off and sighs a way that could be construed as tired, wistful, or any number of things in between.  “...frrreedom.”    The catling gives Faan a sincere, wide-eyed look, his pupils blown and round in his yellow-gold irises.  Unfortunately, the catboy’s natural sensuality makes the look come off more coquette than ingenue.  No matter, he’s honestly sincere when he apologizes again.  “I’m sorrrrrry, Faan,”  he murmured softly, almost like he was seeking to speak directly and only to her.  He gives her a slight,smile before he lifts his ears and perk them forward once more.

As forrr my comment…”  Tom-Cat trails off, offering Faan a tight smile.  “Mistrrress will want to perrrforrrm a Purrrification Rrritual on the budall.”  He pushes a breath out, calm, collected.  He allows nothing but polite respect to ring clear in his voice and a neutral, diplomatic expression to touch his features.  “Ulin Dalninil,” he says, emphasizing the honorific.  “Please accept an invitation forrr you and the two n'nehrur jaluk,  back to Mistrrress’ estate.  Therrre we can discuss the Aerrros you arrre seeking.”  The catboy pauses, before catching Faan’s eye.  He gives her an attractive smile, then sweetens the pot.  “You, of courrrse, may avail yourrrself to the estate’s heated bathing pools, Ulin Dalninil.” 

 


Spoiler
Drow words

 

Ulin Dalninil - "Future Sister"

 

N'nehrur jaluk - "Lesser male" (based on the hierarchy of matriarchal Drow Household)

TOM-CAT: Kiana Beach Battle (3/3) - ☆Try Again - ★Powder Keg - Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - ★Sparring - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - Stolen Kiss - ☆Not Cheshire - Returning to Her - ★Baths & Comfort - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories -★Laughter & Kisses
───────────
DAETH: Breaking Callon - Pleasure w/Pain - Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate 2/2 - Precariously Balanced Nature - At Long Last, Eddellyn - Precipice - Entering the Hedge Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - Into the Aegis - Button Pressing - Thunder & Honey
───────────
RISQUÉ: Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte]Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor -Proposing the Race
──────────────────
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]


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Rigel
(@rigel)
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Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 216
 

Rigel listened intently as the Tom-Cat.  Listening for something he was not sure he expected to hear.   

“What an ugly soul,”

Rigel was sure these words were intended for him, about him.  If only the Tom-Cat knew how much Rigel agreed with him.  Even as a young man he had an aptitude for martial practices.  Call it what it is, dealing death.  Rigel had been trying to cleanse his soul for over ten years and finally gave into his baser side and took up the sword again.  A decision he struggled with every day.  But every day he carried on trying find the best in people, protect those who could not protect themselves ans atone for the hundreds of lives he had taken over the years.  Yes, most were taken in war, and it was expected.  It carried no stigma, but it still bothered him.  He was not worthy of respect but that did not mean he had to tolerate people being disrespectful toward others either.

“Beforrre anything else, Ulin Dalninil.  Please forrrgive my earrrlierrr indignity against yourrr, Yourrr verrry lovely perrrson, miss Wuu’Faan Liewuun.  I am usually not out without an escorrrt, and I don’t know how to act with all this…...frrreedom.  I’m sorrrrrry, Faan,”

Well...there it was.  Tom-Cat apologized to Faan for his behavior.  Rigel watched and determined that he felt Tom-Cat was sincere to Rigel could would no longer hold a grudge against him.  Rigel relaxed his stance uncoiling the springs he had kept tight and ready for use and made a slight nod toward the cat-man. 


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Pioloss
(@pioloss)
Citizen Citizen
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 256
 

Ugly Soul. 

Just two words but the impact rocked Pioloss back on his heels as if he had been physically struck. Unknowingly Tom-Cat had hit the nail on the head, summing up all of Pioloss’s fears and doubts, and wrapping them into one neat little bundle, and all with just two words.

Ugly Soul.

And that was if he even had a soul anymore! Even now Pioloss’s first instinct was to lash out, to react with anger towards Tom-Cat even as the Man began giving a sincere apology to Faan! How was that for an ugly soul? A kept boy, little more than a slave or pet, but one with an armour plated killing machine as his guardian, and yet here he was, apologising whilst Pioloss was till having to fight down irrational urges for violence! 

Ugly Soul.

Just two words. But ones that would give him much to ponder as he lowered his eyes to the ground and stood there mutely, waiting for the Cat Man to lead them onwards on their journey


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